Those who knew Benjamin Franklin Gravely described him as an “articulate, tall, handsome gentleman who was a tinkerer, always interested in inventions and so driven that he often worked until 2 or 3 a.m.”
That drive influenced Gravely to secure 65 patents in his lifetime. Some were obtained in the field of photography, but most of his patents were in the farm implement category. The most celebrated invention was the Gravely motor plow, which he secured a patent for in 1916.
The following is a list of some of the original patents Gravely and the Gravely Motor Plow and Cultivator Company secured for tractors and other agricultural innovations.
— Click the red links below to view full-sized images of each invention. —
Motor Plow | Awarded Dec. 5, 1916
“The object of the invention is to provide a motor plow of the type employing but a single traction wheel and in which the motor is so arranged that the plow will be properly balanced when passing over the ground,” Gravely said.
The most well-known of Benjamin Gravely’s patents, the motor plow
Carburetor | Awarded Sept. 9, 1930
“One object of the invention is to provide a carburetor including a throttle valve, in which the proportion of air, which is mixed with the gasoline, is increased and diminished into proper ratio to the volume of gasoline flowing through the throttle valve,” Gravely said.
Hillside Agricultural Machine | Awarded Sept. 8, 1931
“One object of this invention is to provide a machine of this character which is adapted to be readily adjusted to conform with the slope of the hillside on which the machine is being operated,” Gravely said.
Cutter Guard | Awarded Sept. 6, 1932
“One object of the invention is to provide a device of this character wherein the use of the usual leger plate is obviated,” Gravely said.
Gravely’s cutter guard
Mowing Machine | Awarded Sept. 30, 1932
“One object of the invention is to provide a machine of this character, which is adapted to cut lawn grass, hay fields, briars, and the like, with equal facility,” Gravely said.
Tractor | Awarded Oct. 11 1932
“This invention relates to new and useful improvements in tractors, and particularly to tractors adapted for use in connection with agricultural machines, road making machines, and the like,” Gravely said.
Lawn Mower Device | Dec. 6, 1932
“On object of the invention is to provide a lawn-mower device including novel means for adjusting the parts whereby to cause the device to cut the grass to greater or lesser degrees,” Gravely said.
Mowing Device | Awarded March 14, 1933
“This invention relates to new and useful improvements in driving mechanisms, and particularly to driving mechanisms especially adapted for use in connection with the cutting bars of mowing machines,” Gravely said.
A drawing of Gravely’s mowing device
Gearing | Awarded Jan. 23, 1934
“One object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved form of multi-speed driving mechanism, which is adapted to be easily and quickly taken apart, for the purpose of increasing or decreasing the number of gear speeds,” Gravely said.
Rotary Plow | Awarded Aug. 18, 1936
“This invention relates to devices for tilling the soil and more particularly to a plow, which will be so constructed as to comminute the surface of the ground to a proper depth and leave it free from furrows, so that it will be substantially smooth and in proper condition for seeding and sodding,” Gravely said.
Cultivator Blade | Awarded Dec. 5, 1944
“(An) important object of the invention is to provide a cultivating blade, which will have a sub-soil action and which — due to the peculiar shape of its cutting edge — will not become easily dulled by striking large rocks and other obstacles,” Gravely said.
Power-Operated Sickle Mower | Awarded July 18, 1950
“(An) object is to provide a rotary clearer at the central portion of the cutting mechanism to throw cut vegetation laterally and prevent it from lodging between and clogging the sickle bars,” Gravely said.
Gravely’s power-driven sickle mower
Fluid Motor Construction | Awarded July 5, 1955
“This invention relates to a hydraulic motor construction and more particularly to an improved motor adapted for use as a vehicle wheel or as a stationary source of driving power,” Gravely said.